Tag Archives: prints

Gen Con Art Show 2015 Review

This year was even better than last year. I had some great conversations, learned some cool information about parrots, got to hang with my art buddies, and met some new folks.

The set-up

Gen Con 2015 Artist Alley set up version 1
Gen Con 2015 Artist Alley set up version 1

Originally my space looked like this. Bear falls drawing and painting on the left. Next my other larger framed art (canvas prints and original), then matted prints, then the dragon eye drawings. With this view, very few people noticed the Bear Falls painting. It's pretty big so that seemed strange. I thought by putting the painting facing out to the main walkway (off the photo to the right), people might be drawn in. Not so. I don't think it jumps out from the visual chaos that is Gen Con. Plus I think people on the main walkway had a destination in mind so weren't sightseeing. Plus it seemed that most of the traffic was moving out of the Artist Alley toward the main walkway, not in.

Gen Con 2015 Artist Alley set up version 2
Gen Con 2015 Artist Alley set up version 2

I swapped my setup. Bears on the right, dragon eyes on the left. More people saw the painting as they passed through Artist Alley and I ran out of those prints I brought with me.

This year I also had a few signs printed (color on paper, mounted to foam board, and varnished). One had my name on it. The other had some samples of my work, some of which were published in games. The place I had it printed tried several times to get it "right" and I ended up with what you see in the photo. The name sign turned out ok. The sample work sign I think I could have left home. I was trying to show more of my capabilities but because the printing was different than how I do my prints, there was some confusion about which version was "correct". A few people were disappointed that the prints I had for sale (also on display below the sign) weren't as saturated as what was on the sign. I took that sign down. The printer had to charge me for the full piece of foam board, which is why I had 2 signs made. In hind sight I should have just had the printer make a second name sign.

Dressing the Part

This year I tried to look more like a professional artist. I tried to match my clothing with my art aesthetic. I don't know if it altered other people's perception of me but it altered mine. I think it put me more in the mindset that I'm running a business and I'm there to work (and have fun!).

Talking to People

I think having worked in retail for a few years helped me with this. I'm much more comfortable talking with just about anyone. I still need to work on how I talk about and engage people in the art. One of my neighbors across the way was exceptional at this so I tried to listen and observe her interactions with people. Her art was awesome, she dressed the part, she came across as very personable, confident (not cocky).

Price Points and Inventory

I had a range of price points. Post card size art for $2 each. A pack of 4 for $8, note cards $3-$4 each, loose prints $20, matted prints $25, and originals of varying sizes and prices. I did not sell any originals at the show but had some interest. I think the originals act more as a draw to my table. The packs of 4 post card size art did pretty well. I think because it offered people more images for their money, and helped those that couldn't make up their mind on which one they wanted.

Next Year

I think next year I'll have some more lower priced items: 5"x7" prints matted and loose, 4"x6" usable post cards, maybe some utilitarian items like mugs or magnets. Plus next year I'll be more practiced in talking with people about the art. I had only made post card size art of a few of my images. Several people were looking for a small version of a print but I didn't have it. I don't think I'd make small versions of every image I have but maybe more than I had this year. I'll have to give that more thought.

Back to Work

Many people have said something like this: make great work, show it, be great to work with. Time to make some more art!

Spring Art Event

Stop on by! I'll be hawking my wares during *Art-A-Whirl. Many of my fantasy pieces will be displayed, as well as some portraits, and still life. I'll have originals, prints, note cards, and studies for sale.

christine mitzuk spring art show sampling of work
Some of the art you can see in person May 15 - 17, 2015.

When
Friday: May 15, 2pm - 9pm
Saturday: May 16, 1pm - 8pm
Sunday: May 17, 12pm - 5pm
Please note that my times are slightly different than the official Art-A-Whirl times. Also, I'm not in the official book so don't use that to find me. Use the address below.

Where
I'll be set up in Cyd Wicker's studio: 1701 East Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55414, #285. Look for a big, brick building on the northwest corner of Stinson and East Hennepin.
It's in the same building as The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art: second floor, one studio down from The Atelier.

There is free, off-street parking, or you can skip driving and get a FREE Metro Transit pass for the whole event.

I hope to see you there!

*Art-A-Whirl is a huge open artist studio event in Northeast Minneapolis. To learn more about Art-A-Whirl, and find even more art to see visit the official site: http://nemaa.org/art-a-whirl

2 Comments

I send art out to a few sci-fi/fantasy conventions. Nothing original, just prints because they're lighter and smaller than original art. Lighter and smaller = less shipping cost. Prints also seem to have a more appealing price point than originals.

picture of prints, paperwork, and shipping supplies for convention preparation.

Most convention art shows I send art to have a display area and a print shop. The Display area is usually for originals or limited edition prints. Here the art needs to be framed or matted and bagged (make it look presentable and professional). The print shop can be open edition prints and they can be unmatted but usually need to be bagged, labeled with piece name and price. They also require paperwork: an artist information sheet; a display control sheet (list of pieces and prices); a print shop control sheet; and completed bid tags for each piece in the display area.

Here are a few things I've learned.

Lists are excellent. Since the required elements and process for sending art to each show are very similar, I created a generic checklist. I print one for each convention and mark tasks off as I go. The list become my second brain. All the organizing happens from that list so I don't forget anything.

Tape. Most of the shows want the bid tags attached to the art. From working the Art Show at CONvergence I've learned that the blue painters tape is excellent for this. It's sticky enough for the bid tag to stay put but is easily removed later.

Postage. Using USPS.com to purchase postage is cheaper than postage purchased at a post office. I go by weight and dimensions of the box, or type of USPS box for shipping. I use an electronic kitchen scale, which we already had, to weigh the packed box. The shipping is generally much less than one of those flat rate boxes.

Boxes. USPS has FREE shipping materials (boxes and envelopes). You can order them from USPS.com.

Piles. Piles and Post-it Notes are also help. Mind you, they are organized piles. One for display art and one for print shop art.

File folders. Each convention is assigned a labeled folder. The checklist and all the paperwork goes in there. It stays with me so I can refer back to the previous year or check the return shipment against my copy of the art list.

Packing. I learned to cushion the ends and short sides with bubble wrap or bunched up clean plastic bags. As added protection I put a sheet of foam core or cardboard on either large side, basically creating a sandwich with the art in between.

Tracking art. To track what went where or what sold (hopefully), I print a copy of the control sheets for my records. Ideally I also mark what number of the print run for a piece I sent out. This way if it sells I can mark the piece as sold in my limited edition print list. I'll also know whether or not to send the same piece the following year.

Waiting. Just let it go. When the box leaves my hands, that's it. I take it off my mental list of things to do and don't worry about it.

Unpacking. Ideally I do this within a few days of receiving the box. I check their list of pieces against the copy of what I sent. Usually everything adds up. Once or twice there have been discrepancies but the art show organizer for those instances resolved the issue.

Evaluation. Something sold? Great! Nothing sold but all the art came back in one piece? Great! Getting the art out in front of eyeballs is my goal. Getting me AND the art out together would be ideal but that's not always possible. I might reevaluate this at the end of the year. Maybe next year I'll focus my energies on shows I can do in person. We'll see.

Resources.
USPS FREE shipping supplies https://store.usps.com/store/browse/category.jsp?categoryId=shipping-supplies

ClearBags, as the name implies, has clear bags. They also sell standard size cut mats, backing boards, boxes, etc. Currently I cut my own mats because I want specific colors but I've stocked up on bags from them.  http://www.clearbags.com/

Convention Wiki is a decent starting place if you need a list of shows. You'll need to look each one up because some of them are defunct. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_science_fiction_conventions